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Training question from down under(4 posts)

Training question from down underGary
Feb 20, 2002 1:51 PM
I am in training for our local XC club races (yes I know MTB). Which is better. Spend my Saturday ride on the road including climbing repeats of our local mountain. Approx 11 minutes to the summit with a steep gradient or substitute the time training off road on a hilly course with probably a similar amount of climbing in total. ?? I am aware that the road climbs allow a more consistant heart rate but am unsure whether this or the total cumulative climbing time and heart rate at this level is the important factor.
Sunday is usually spent off road with the remaining 3 weekday rides spent on road.
Thanks from down in Australia.
ok, I'll bitelonefrontranger
Feb 22, 2002 5:01 PM
Note that I'm neither a physiologist nor a real MTB expert. At most I'm a cyclo-crosser and crit tactician.

I personally would use the hilly off-road course, and try to keep the heartrate monitor within your target zone, whatever that may be. It will provide much better race simulation, and you'll polish skills like cornering, descending, hopping logs, etc, at speed, and also get things like tire choice and suspension dialed in. The hill repeats on the road will build power, but the hilly offroad course will really work your handling skills and create a better feel for your bike and your ability to tear through the trees at 25 mph on the ragged edge of control. Of course, this is only if you have trails nearby that you can do race-pace workouts on without endangering, startling or otherwise outraging other trail users (hikers, horses, etc.).

If you are able, and your local trails allow (as above), get your buddies together for a couple of the Sunday rides and have a free-for-all, loser-buys-the-beer point to point ride/mock race. Most folks train better in a competitive situation, and you'll find this to be the best source of skills and speed building offroad. Here you'll learn skills like how to pass in tight singletrack, how to get a proper start, and how to rate yourself so you don't blow up halfway through.

Use your road bike for pure speedwork on the flats and big gear training - this is IMO the best training benefit a MTBer can get from road training. If you don't ride with a roadie group to help provide the speed and impetus, then once a week find a flat to slightly descending stretch of road, and practice spinning up and going all-out in the 53x14 or similar. Good luck!


ok, I'll biteGary
Feb 23, 2002 8:17 PM
Thanks for the reply.
re: MTB Trainingallervite
Feb 26, 2002 11:06 AM
I do all of my physical training on the road. As a XC race approaches I start riding one day a week off road working exclusively on technical skills. 4 weeks before my race I do three days a week off road working on technical skills.

The problem with MTB riding is there is no such thing as an easy ride. The terrain is constantly screwing up your workout. A long uphill is the exception to this.